Overview & Best Practices

It is recognized that interlibrary loan is a core library service and should be offered to library patrons without charge. It is a major means of maximizing access, equity, and inclusion. These guidelines outline best practices in interlibrary loan statewide. Following the guidelines will best serve library users while making the statewide interlibrary loan system manageable for library staff. These interlibrary loan guidelines reflect the expectations of library staff and patrons participating in KICNET.


Overview of Interlibrary Loan

  • Participation in interlibrary loan (ILL) is available to all Kansas Libraries.
  • Lending among libraries of all types for the use of an individual is in the public interest and should be encouraged.
  • Interlibrary borrowing should be no substitute for the development of adequate collections based on the needs of the library’s area of service.
  • No library should depend upon another to supply the normal needs of its clientele except under special agreement for such service.
  • It is not for librarians to judge the importance of materials requested by a user so long as such requests fall within the broad parameters of library service. Librarians should attempt to obtain such materials even if not appropriate for the collection of the requesting library.
  • Libraries should adhere to the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States (2016), the Kansas Best Practices for Interlibrary Loan outlined below, and governing principles of any consortia (such as OCLC and KICNET) to which they belong.
  • These codes are not intended to supplant more liberal agreements existing between groups of libraries within the State of Kansas.
  • According to the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States, “the requesting library is responsible for borrowed material from the time it leaves the supplying library until it has been returned to and received by the supplying library”. If loss occurs, the requesting library is responsible for following the Materials Replacement Fund Guidelines outlined by the Southeast Kansas Library System.
  • Holdings in local or shared catalogs should be updated regularly as outdated or inaccurate bibliographic records seriously impact the efficiency of the ILL system.


Governance of ILL in Kansas

The State Library of Kansas Board has the authority to establish policy for interlibrary loan in Kansas under K.S.A.75-2546, 75-2575, 75-2577.


Best Practices for Requesting Libraries

  • Search and fill requests locally whenever possible before requesting through ILL. Items that your library owns, but are not available, should generally not be requested on ILL.
  • Use electronic methods such as KICNET or OCLC whenever possible.
  • For mail or fax requests, use the ALA ILL Request Form and enclose a mailing label.
  • Phone or email requests should be used only when the supplying library has indicated in advance that they accept such requests.
  • Materials in high demand should be considered for purchase or lease before requesting on ILL
  • Avoid placing undue demands on any one library. When placing requests, use the following hierarchy, in conjunction with any special consortia and/or delivery methods”
    1. Libraries within the requester’s regional library system, except those named below
    2. Libraries outside the requester’s regional library system, except those named below
    3. Wichita Public Library, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, Kansas City (KS) Public Library, Johnson County Public Library, and Regents’ libraries (KU, KSU, WSU, ESU, PSU, FHSU, KU Law, and Kansas State Polytechnic)
  • The requesting library should ensure the confidentiality of the user
  • The requesting library should establish, maintain, and make available to its users an interlibrary loan borrowing policy
  • The requesting library is responsible for honoring the due date and enforcing any use restrictions specified by the supplying library. The due date is defined as the date the material is due to be returned to the requesting library for return to the supplying library
  • All borrowed material is subject to recall. The requesting library should respond immediately if the supplying library recalls and item
  • Determine the urgency of each request and clearly note on the request form. When an item is needed within a very short length of time, indicate the specific time by which the item is needed
  • When requesting special formats, use an appropriate record and clearly identify the specific format
  • The State Library maintains a list of Book Discussion Kits owned by participating KICNET libraries. Check this list first, before submitting multiple ILL requests.
  • Don’t ask for types of material that you would be unwilling to loan from your collection
  • Keep in mind that most libraries will not ordinarily lend the following types of material:
    1. Rare or valuable materials
    2. Bulky or fragile materials that are difficult or expensive to ship
    3. Materials in high demand at the supplying library
    4. Materials with local circulation restrictions
    5. Unique materials that would be difficult or impossible to replace


Best Practices for Supplying Libraries

  • Be willing to loan items that would circulate to local users, including non-book formats.
  • Make every effort to respond to requests withing two to four working days
  • Loan materials to courier and non-courier libraries alike
  • The supplying library should establish, maintain, and make available to borrowing libraries an interlibrary lending policy
  • The supplying library may recall material at any time
  • When supplying returnables, include a return mailing label


Best Practices for All Libraries

  • Keep your library’s ILL information up to date in appropriate policy areas such as the KICNET Participant Record and the OCLC Policies Directory
  • Assign sufficient staff time to ILL to handle normal borrowing and lending activity. Have backup staff available if those with primary responsibility to ILL are unavailable
  • Inform your regional library system center of the State Library when a new person is responsible for handling ILL
  • Subscribe to appropriate ILL discussion lists such as KANILL-L
  • Attend ILL continuing education events whenever possible
  • Refer any questions to your regional library system center or the Statewide Services Division at the State Library.


Additional Information

This document is a merger of the following documents:

  • Kansas Interlibrary Loan Code (1994)
  • KIC Council Policies for Cooperative Resource Sharing (1992)
  • Kansas Protocols for Cooperative Resource Sharing (1999)
  • Pennsylvania POWER Library Services: Access to E-resources and Interlibrary Loan (2021)
  • South Dakota SHAREit: Statewide Interlibrary Loan Policy (2022)
  • Vermont Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Code (2020)
  • Wisconsin ILL Guidelines (2021)